Building Age in Residential Development 2016


Urban structures and their time of origin shape the city and the urban environment in different ways. Building age (hereinafter also referred to as “age of building”) constitutes a fundamental characteristic in this. At the same time, it serves as an indicator of environmental impacts, as the city’s influence on the environment is closely linked to building structures and their manifestation in the actual buildings. The various building age groups differ clearly in the construction methods of their buildings, building materials and in the exterior and interior construction process of their buildings. Thus, they do not only influence the different environmental characteristics considerably but also the cityscape and the residential environment.

Building age is of particular importance when calculating energy-saving potentials or alternative energy solutions as part of energy and climate protection, as reconstruction requirements and reconstruction options to increase energy savings are very much tied to building age.

Besides other urban structural data, the potential for constructing solar-thermal energy and photovoltaics or green roofs can be derived from building age, as the various construction eras availed of characteristic roof forms to some extent.

Collecting basic statistical data does not only serve as a foundation for developing corresponding concepts and plans for building construction, the data on building age is also of great historical value, as it traces the city’s development over the past centuries.

Furthermore, the age of building serves as an indicator of urban development for the respective building regulations, the use of buildings, building materials and construction law, as it reflects the influence of all these factors.

Thus far, academia has seen different approaches of using building age as an important feature of construction eras for developing a building stock categorization for versatile use. The research findings on “Deutsche Gebäudetypologie” (German Building Typology, Loga, T. et al.) are particularly comprehensive. They divide the German building stock into so-called construction eras or building age groups using different sources. To meet the purpose of developing this classification, the energy qualities of a building, which change during the development of construction based on amendments and adjustments made to building regulations relevant to heating, formed a central criterion for distinction. This resulted in 11 building age groups of different periods that cannot be used directly for other reporting purposes (Loga, T. et al. 2011).

Regarding the settlement and construction history of Berlin, the overview of the development of the urban settlement of the city as an accompanying commentary on the Environmental Atlas Maps “Urban Structure” (06.07) / “Urban Structure – Differentiated Area Types” (06.08) (SenStadtUm 2016) should be mentioned here in addition. The time of origin also served as an important criterion in the categorization of the 52 area types included in the use maps.

The information on the development and construction history of the 52 area types is inevitably rather broad and usually spans several decades.

As part of the feasibility study “Climate-Neutral Berlin 2050” (PIK et al. 2014), both the urban structure types and building age groups were differentiated and evaluated in terms of their attainable CO2 reduction potential.

A first comprehensive representation, however, limited to an area defined as the “inner city” of about 160 km2 and divided into so-called building periods of different time periods, was last presented by Aust (1994) in 1992/1993. It is an updated record from 1989, which was part of the publication “Städtebauliche Entwicklung Berlins seit 1650 in Karten” (Development of the urban structure of Berlin since 1650 in maps, SenStadtUm 1992). The Geoportal Berlin contains scans of building ages 1992/1993 accompanied by further historical maps of sub-areas “Berlin um…” (Berlin around…).

The present georeferenced map complements and updates these representations with a comprehensive record of the residential building stock until 2015. Hence, the building age groups also contribute to the history of the city and assist in the interpretation of the development phases of Berlin’s residential construction.